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Mark of the Thief

(Mark of the Thief #1)

3.94  ·  Rating details ·  10,034 ratings  ·  1,369 reviews
When Nic, a slave in the mines outside of Rome, is forced to enter a sealed cavern containing the lost treasures of Julius Caesar, he finds much more than gold and gemstones: He discovers an ancient bulla, an amulet that belonged to the great Caesar and is filled with a magic once reserved for the Gods -- magic some Romans would kill for.

Now, with the deadly power of the b
Kindle Edition, 352 pages
Published February 24th 2015 by Scholastic Press
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Average rating 3.94  · 
Rating details
 ·  10,034 ratings  ·  1,369 reviews

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Jan 30, 2014 marked it as to-read
Oooooooooh.... Jennifer Nielsen + Ancient Rome + Magic = Certain Awesomeness.
See? I can be good at math. Cuz that answer is almost definitely RIGHT.
Jul 01, 2017 rated it really liked it
I listened to this as an audiobook with my two kids, and I have to say, I really enjoyed it.

We recently finished listening to the audiobooks of the Ascendance Trilogy and so we moved on Neilson's newest series, Mark of the Thief. This is a fast-paced middle grade fantasy adventure set in Ancient Rome. The story combines historical fiction with light fantasy elements and it works quite beautifully.

However, I think what really made the whole thing so enjoyable for me, and for my kids, was the ex
Whitley Birks
Apr 03, 2015 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2015
I wasn’t really feeling this one. It had potential, to be sure, but everything about it was too rushed and too fractured to really do it for me.

The first half of the book (at least, possibly more) was just one long series of unfortunate events that knocked the hero hither and yon. A couple of those are fun, sure, but when it’s one after another after another after another? And that point you’re just avoiding the plot. It was impossible to get things actually moving when everyone gets bowled over
Mar 29, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: ya, fantasy-sci-fi
Another enjoyable read by this reliably good author. The characters are well developed, the story moved quickly and the setting of ancient Rome was nicely illustrated, lending the book that extra air of intrigue. It's a fairly mild fantasy novel, but I didn't mind, mostly because I thought Nic was a solid character, who was brave but not arrogantly unafraid, and thus a figure I could root easily for. Nielsen, I think, will never produce very grim, twisty fantasy novels in the vein of Holly Black ...more
Nenia ✨ I yeet my books back and forth ✨ Campbell

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Buddy read with TL. You can check out her review here.

I recently read and loved THE FALSE PRINCE - it was amazing! TFP was a high-stakes fantasy thriller about a young boy who is competing with several other young boys, Hunger Games-style, to impersonate a long-lost prince & save a kingdom from rebellion. I finished that sucker in a single sitting, blown away by the non-stop action and surprise twists. Immediately, I told myself that I
R.F. Gammon
Aug 29, 2019 rated it really liked it
This is probably my least favorite Nielsen I've read so far? Which is saying something because I still really really enjoyed it AND she's still one of my favorite authors! That being said:
-Nic was a lot like Sage, with two major exceptions: He NEVER had a plan, and he had a good heart that would put literally anyone else before himself. At one point, he states that even to save himself or the city of Rome, he won't blur the lines of right and wrong. And that made me miss Sage and Kestra, our oth
This is the author who has written my favorite children’s book series. Queen of the Plot Twists.

I was, of course, excited to read this series, which I have been holding off for a few years.

Here are some of my thoughts:
• I love the mythology, historical context, and GRIFFINS. Seriously, that griffin, is just the cutest, crankiest thing!
• I like Nic. I also can’t help but compare him to Sage from The False Prince who is my absolute favorite. Sage is one of the must clever and lovable characters
Jan 26, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Buddyread with
Nenia :)

Read Nenia's review here

Now, I loved False Prince from this author, it is still one of my favorite books (would make a great movie in my opinion.. hint hint Hollywood!).. the sequel wasn't to my taste but I would still go back to the magic of the first one.
A Night Divided was great as well.
That being said, I was excited to finally tackle this one.. even stayed away from most reviews beforehand though I did hear inklings from other people... put that out of my head and
Nov 29, 2016 rated it really liked it
3.5 stars
i was hoping something along the lines of percy jackson. it has very little fantasy aspect to it, revolves more around Rome's politics. it has a bulla which contains god's magic, a mc that's very bad at controlling it & a griffin that's all you get.
book was slow paced but kept me interested & curious enough. the best part for me was the mystery relating the general randulf. though hinted by the the author earlier, it totally skipped me & i was pleasantly surprised by it. i will definit
Mar 09, 2013 marked it as to-read
Shelves: new-for-2015
Okay—Ancient Rome, secret magic, and everything epic.
Then: Expected publication, 2015

Faye, la Patata
Dec 24, 2015 rated it liked it
Kinda like a milder Red Rising... set in Rome, with modern language.
Come into Roman Empire and watch the fighting of gladiators. No, they don't fight by using spears, they uses magic.

Nick is a young slave in the mine outside of Rome. He is forced to steal Julius Caesar's bulla *the one you saw on the cover*, the ancient powerful bulla which contain the magic from a Goddess and give it to a General of Roman Empire. Finally, Nick winds up keep it himself instead and then the adventure begins.


I haven't read much of YA book in Roman period so it's quite interesting
Benjamin Thomas
I have not read the author’s previous YA series, the “Ascendance” series but I have heard of its success and so I came to this one with fairly high expectations. Unfortunately, those expectations may have backfired on me. I really wanted to like this one. After all, how can you go wrong with a plot involving a young escaped slave in the later Roman era, treasures of Julius Caesar, Roman gladiator-style action, political backstabbing-intrigue, and a griffon companion?

For most readers to really ge
Apr 05, 2014 marked it as waiting-for-more  ·  review of another edition
Just finished reading the amazingly spectacular The False Prince and it has most definitely guaranteed the wonderful Jennifer Nielsen as a writer on my Forever Fave list. ...more
Andrea C
Oct 09, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2014-2015
it was a fun adventure through roman times! i look forward to the next one in the series.
m a r y l i z
OKAY SO I HAD A MINOR INTERRUPTION. This book was due back at the library and I just got it back today. Thanks, library. :P

Honestly, I had hoped for more from this book but it was just kind of "meh." I liked Nic and Aurelia okay, but they really didn't stand out to me a whole lot. The setting wasn't my favorite since I'm not really big on Roman history. The writing also felt sub-par compared to her other books...but maybe that's just me being biased. I DON'T KNOW. xD

My one major concern was all
Colleen Houck
If Gladiator had magic and was YA then you'd have Mark of the Thief. This one is for all you history geeks who love ancient Rome. Love the griffin and the way the magic is imbued on the hero. Favorite scene was the final battle in the Colosseum. ...more
Avery (ThePagemaster)
4.75 our of 5 Stars!

I finished this book, literally, minutes after midnight and as much as I wanted to talk about this book, I needed to sleep on this book. Now, with a cup of coffee, I'm ready to talk about Mark of the Thief.

So the book starts off with Nic, and for the past five years, he's been a slave, in a mine, in search or Ceasar's bulla--what you see on the cover, an amulet of sorts. Life's not good to him; the only family he has is his sister. That is, until it is Nic who discovers the b
Adrianna [SypherLily]
Rome, ancient magic, gods... what can go wrong?!

I feel like if I explained all that this book is about, you'd raise your eyebrow at me and think I'm silly for not loving this.

This is action packed! You're thrust onto this adventure with Nic, a slave who has lived in the mines for most of his life.

There's a griffin - a beast of the gods, an amulet - a bulla hidden among Caesar's treasure that is rumored to bestow magical power, and an impending war - one that can only be stopped with before ment
Dec 04, 2014 rated it it was amazing
it was a great book and the last word was just horrible it makes you want the secound book right away we were lucky though we were the first to see the book and one of the first to ever get it its a fantastic read
Dec 21, 2014 rated it really liked it
And Jennifer Nielsen does it again! Another fast paced, page turning first book in a new trilogy that middle grade readers are going to love!
zane deann
Sep 19, 2017 rated it really liked it
3.5 stars. Although I absolutely loved the Ascendance Trilogy by the same author, Mark of the Thief, although enjoyable, fell a little flat for me. There was some annoying info-dumping going on, and, overall, the writing wasn't as good. Still a fun, quick read, and I want the next book now. That cliffhanger though. ;) ...more
Cool action!

Again, Jennifer Nielsen wrote an amusing, full of action and witty book just like The False Prince. I wouldn’t say that The Mark of the Thief was very similar to the other books the author had written. On one point, this book wasn’t as humorous as False Prince nor had a too cunning character and surprising turn of events.

However, The Mark of the Thief is very creative, exciting and interesting.

The story was set in at the time of the Roman Empire. At what BC or A
Terry (Ter05 TwiMoms/ MundieMoms)
This author's Ascendance Trilogy beginning with The False Prince is a favorite of mine - loved all three books and thus I bought this newly released book. I wanted to love it but just did not. It was an action packed interesting take on Roman times post Caesar with a fiction twist thrown in - Magic! Nic is a young slave in the mines, and this is his story. It's a story of escape, court intrigue, and one escapade after another as he finds him self with a mark on his shoulder and an ancient Bulla ...more
Bang Bang Books
Nov 08, 2014 rated it liked it

Nic is a slave in Ancient Rome and on a mission to raid Julius Caesar’s tomb, he finds Caeser’s bulla. After he puts the bulla around his neck, he gains world ending powers that are coveted by the good and the bad.

Dang, That Was Good
•Neilsen’s writing style is similar to the Ascendence Trilogy. ◾Strong, quick witted male protagonist.
◾Non-stop action
◾Just enough middle grade appropriate sexual tension.
◾Unpredictable plot twists

•It’s set in Ancient Rome and it’s pretty historical
Jul 03, 2014 rated it liked it
3 1/2 I loved Ms Nielsen's False Prince trilogy, it completely took my by surprise and I loved every minute of reading all three books. I was eager to read her follow up "Mark of the Thief". I enjoyed this book but not nearly as much as I did the previous series. The book was a quick read and it did entertain but I never felt the connection to slave turned into magic user Nic. I loved the griffin and the parts of the novel which deal with the events in the stadium. I didn't connect with some oth ...more
Tracey Dyck
Jan 30, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019-reads
So this was pretty cool. Not as good as The False Prince, but still entertaining. I liked how Ancient Rome was fused with fantasy, incorporating Roman mythology and even some history.

Where this book fell short for me was in character motivations. Nicolas seemed to care about his friends and family only when it was convenient to the plot. And when other interesting things were happening? Well, he completely forgot about them.


I mean, if I feared for my little sister’s safety—
Dec 28, 2015 rated it did not like it
Some of the worst characterization I've seen in a book in a long time. No one is remotely consistent (well, except that the female characters are weak idiots who are trusting under really stupid circumstances), no one is plausible, no one is human. They are paper cutouts in various shapes being shoved around a set. ...more
Sam L
Oct 30, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This book was the best book I read this year! That is saying something. I finished the book on the day it came out! This book is the best fantasy book I have ever read! :)
Mimi 'Pans' Herondale
So good! Reminds me of the books that are published by Rick Riordan presents (Storm Runner, etc.).
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Mark of The Thief: is it worth continuing to the sequal? 5 22 Dec 15, 2017 07:08PM  
Bolivar Class of ...: Mark of the Thief, by Jennifer A. Nielsen 1 9 Aug 12, 2016 06:01PM  

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Jennifer lives at the base of a very tall mountain in Northern Utah with her husband, three children, and a naughty puppy. She loves the smell of rainy days, hot chocolate, and old books, preferably all at once. She is a former speech teacher, theater director, and enjoyed a brief but disastrous career as a door-to-door pollster. In her spare time, Jennifer tends to panic, wondering what she has f ...more

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Mark of the Thief (3 books)
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“The world will judge you based on what you think of yourself. "

"“Not every chain is made of metal,” I told her. “The worst are made of comfort and false promises. You’re no more free here than you were in the mines.”
“If I was going to fight this beast — regardless of how poor my chances were — I needed the use of both hands, so I put the bulla around my neck.

A wind swirled up around me when I did. “It isn’t yours,” the wind seemed to say. “It will curse you.”

The threat didn’t bother me — my present situation was worse than any curse from a dusty amulet. My bigger concern was that the wind spoke to me at all.”
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